In the book, What Doesn’t Kill Us, Scott Carney writes, “The anticipation of discomfort is almost always worse than the actual experience.” I was reminded of this, talking with The Mile 99 Podcast a couple weeks back, when discussing my unraveling at the 2018 Western States Endurance Run, where I got hung up at the Rucky Chucky aid-station at mile 78. I was a mess and, especially after the sun went down, I simply did NOT want to wade into—and across—the river. THAT was my biggest hurdle. Cold water’s been a nemesis of mine since forever. That day, I’d exhausted all my resources and I was on fumes. The actual experience of crossing the river, however, DID suck, to be certain, BUT, it was over quickly too. Once that mental hurdle was cleared, I was free to walk it in, avoiding the DNF.
Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
They say that worrying is a misuse of imagination. But worry seems to be wired into our DNA, even while psychology research tells us that upward to 90% of the things we worry about never come to pass. Especially these days, amidst all the actual calamity, we needn’t make things worse by dwelling on hasty hypotheticals. Take some deeps breaths and get super present with your thinking, your outlook, your overactive imagination. Proactively LIVE in the present FOR the future. The key is to CATCH yourself when you’re not in the moment, when you’re anticipating the worst possible outcome.
We’re not living IN these times, we’re living THROUGH them. We won’t just stand in the current of the times and let its current sweep us off our feet. We’ll move deliberately THROUGH this river, to the other side. Just gotta keep making that daily decision, to jump in and fight that current. We’ll emerge on the other side, stronger.